Posts Tagged 'People'



Time to Ring in the New School Year

Last week, Go van Gogh staff and volunteers celebrated the upcoming new school year at our annual welcome back party. Generously hosted by Go van Gogh volunteer Deborah Harvey, the lively group gathered at her home for coffee, snacks, mingling and a very special private art tour. Growing up, the love of art was infectious in Deborah’s family and collecting became a beloved family tradition. Today, she has an impressive collection of exquisite original works. Deborah guided us through her home with charisma and charm relating fun facts and anecdotes about each piece. Check out pictures from the festive event in the slideshow below.

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I still can’t believe that summer is already coming to an end. I guess it’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun! But before we all get swept up into fall, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate some of the successes of this busy, yet fun, summer.

While school was out for the summer, Go van Gogh staff and volunteers traveled all over the city, bringing interactive art programs to your neighborhood libraries, YMCAs, and Boys & Girls Clubs. Through the Go van Gogh Summer Library Program we taught at over fifty venues with a staggering total of 1,393 participants. Although library programs are recommended for ages five-twelve, anyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. Reflecting back, many volunteers have expressed how much they enjoyed interacting with entire families that included children as well as parents. Receiving positive feedback from parents, volunteers, and librarians has been a highlight of this year’s program. I have provided just a couple of these such comments below.

May Shen, Children’s Librarian at Arcadia Park Branch Librar, wrote:

The children were engaged in the museum artwork, made good observations, and had a lot of fun with their own creations.  I was thrilled to see how involved the parents were as well!”

Karen Wyll, a Go van Gogh volunteer shared:

The parents were very complimentary and so pleased to be there.  Both programs were a very positive experience for everyone, I think.”

It’s been a wonderful summer, and I look forward to a fantastic new school year.

Hannah Burney
Community Teaching Programs Assistant

Community Connection: Free Association

The current Community Partner Response Installation in the Center for Creative Connections invites visitors to contemplate space in relation to the African American experience.  Titled Free Association and designed by artists associated with the South Dallas Cultural Center, the installation provides a variety of experiences that include sound, poetry, media, and movement while exploring the notion of limitations of space.

South Dallas Cultural Artists. From left: Harold Steward, Patrick Washington, Ava Wilson, Vicki Meek, Michelle Gibson, Malik Dillard.

Collaborators on this project and their areas of expertise include Malik Dillard, media; Michelle Gibson, dance; Vicki Meek, visual; Harold Steward, theater; Patrick Washington, media; and Ava Wilson, poetry.  Read their perspectives on the installation below, along with their free association responses to the words community, creativity, and art.  

Vicki – What was your vision for this project?  Free Association was created around the concept of limited space and how such limitations can either contain you or spur you to stretch beyond them. The general idea was to explore the history of African Americans within the context of this concept, paying close attention to how African Americans have used creativity to transcend societal constrictions. The more specific idea was to explore the performing, visual, literary & media arts as means of expressing the transcendence of limitations.

Inspired by the installation title Free Association, what is the FIRST word or phrase that comes to mind when you read the following terms?

Community = Essential
Creativity = Boundless
Art = Life 

Harold – How did you integrate theater with the other components of the installation?
More than theater, I was working with some of the components of performance studies. In particular, I wanted to look at the ways in which people naturally operate in “open space” and how that differs when space is confined. One of the many attributes of people of African descent is that we have historically found ways to work within the confines forced upon us when we are taken outside of the continent of Africa, and held on to some cultural traditions while creating new ones in very limited physical and sociological spaces.  The guiding question I had was, “What cultural practices and survival techniques did descendants of Africa keep or create once they arrived on the American shore, and where do they intersect?” The workshop that I offered in conjunction with the installation used Theater of the Oppressed games to cause the participants to be conscience of things that they feel, hear, and see, and the effect these things have on the individual or groups of people when they go unrecognized.

Community = Web- to destroy the community you destroy the web, to build a community you build the web
Creativity = Kuumba –The Kwanzaa principles that demands that we leave our community better than we found it
Art = Knowing what beauty to keep and what issues to call out

Ava – How did you connect poetry to the ideas of free association and space?
The written word is very powerful.  Through the use of several literary devices – metaphor, allusion, symbolism, etc. –  tethered specifically by imagery, I wanted to allow the reader to visualize what enslavement may have been like.  I wanted to create a “free association”, if you will, for the reader.  As for space, I wanted the taut nature of the language and the use of references to shape and dimension to show the vastness of the universe and in the African world in contrast to the narrowness that was the dungeons, slave ships, and realities that the African faced in the west.

Community = Family
Creativity = Spirituality
Art = Life

Patrick – How did you use media to enhance the installation?
We used digital photography, streaming video feed, and an electronic music production program to enhance our installation.

Community =  UNITY
Creativity = ART
Art = LIFE

Malik – How did the use of media enhance the installation? I feel that the media side of the installation creates interaction and gives a great visual for dance instruction.

Community = People coming together
Creativity = Music/Art
Art = Dance/Spoken Word/ Music

Explore Free Association and your own creative responses in the Center for Creative Connections through October 12.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Texas Late Night

Howdy, y’all! This past Friday, the DMA showed folks a rootin’ tootin’ good time at our Late Night celebration of the Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas exhibition. With a theme as big as Texas, you can bet that there was lots to do here at the Museum. With live folk bands playing in the Atrium Cafe and in the galleries, visitors could hear old-time, toe-tapping, traditional Texas music almost anywhere they went. Adult crowds could be seen gathering for tours of the exhibition and  surrounding the watercolor demonstrations led by artist Scott Winterrowd. Lectures, talks, and films throughout the night also kept the adults scurrying from one program to the next. Families had a rip-roaring time in the Center for Creative Connections studio constructing their own Dallas building to contribute to a three-dimensional city skyline. Also in C3, kids created Texas-inspired bandanas and participated in Yoga for Kids. To get a peek at all the festivities, check out the slide show below.
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One of my favorite moments from the night was bumping into a family I had taught during a Go van Gogh Summer Library Program. When I stumbled upon them, they were in C3 doing yoga and discussing what kind of building they would create in the studio. They excitedly told me all about going into the Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas exhibition to see all of the works of art we had talked about during the Impressions of Dallas library program. “They know everything!” the kid’s impressed dad exclaimed. It is always a joy to see familiar faces in the Museum. To learn a little more about the Go van Gogh Library Program, check out Amy’s blog post from last week. Every participant receives a free family pass, which you could use at the next Late Night on August 17.

What was your favorite moment from the Late Night?

Hannah Burney
Go van Gogh Programs Assistant

A Look Back at the 2011-2012 School Year

School is out for the summer! It’s amazing how quickly this busy year flew by. We’d like to take a moment to celebrate some of the accomplishments of this year, and look ahead to some of the highlights for next year.

Museum Visits

  • During the course of the year, we provided docent-guided tours to approximately 37,352 people.
  • The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibition brought in the most docent-guided and self-guided groups with a whopping 11,455 visitors.
  • This fall, we anticipate a large number of group tours for The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico exhibition.  We begin taking requests for the 2012-2013 school year on August 1st, so don’t forget to sign up!

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Go van Gogh Classroom Visits

Thank you docents, Go van Gogh volunteers, students, and teachers, for a wonderful year!

Hannah Burney
Go van Gogh Programs Assistant

Community Connection: Ekphrastic Poetry

In honor of National Poetry Month, April’s Community Connection is Kolby Kerr.  Kolby is an English teacher at New Tech High at Coppell who incorporates a DMA visit into his creative writing curriculum.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I teach AP English IV, regular English IV, and creative writing at New Tech High. It’s a unique school and school environment.  This is my fourth year teaching, and I teach all seniors.  I graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in English and got a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry from Seattle Pacific University.  I am interested in literature and creative writing and the intersection aesthetics and academics.

What drew you to New Tech High?

We are a public choice high school; students come here based on a lottery or a first-come, first-serve sign-up within Coppell ISD. We have a one-to-one technology pairing, so students have access to their own laptops and to the internet at all times.  Our curriculum is project-based; everything has to be invested in real-world, directly applicable projects.  Hopefully, that will increase students’ investment in their own intellectual curiosity.  They tell us what they need to know to complete their projects.  I have, more or less, autonomy to create my instruction around concepts and ways of life I’ve found helpful in engaging the world with the mind.

Tell us about your relationship with the DMA.

In my undergraduate degree program, a creative writing professor took us to The Art Institute.  He set us loose, told us to engage and interact with single work of art, and write an ekphrastic poem based on it.  I found the activity liberating and interesting; I don’t know much about art, but I really felt like I had an engagement with the artwork on a deeper level than I had experienced before.

When I knew I would teach creative writing, that was the first project I wanted to do.  I grew up going to the DMA with my grandmother, who was a big art-lover and always took us down there.  I came last year and this year with my students.  We started with an hour-long guided tour of highlights in the DMA collection, then I set them free.

How do you set up the assignment at the DMA?

It is fairly open-ended.  After the highlights tour, I suggest that students take an hour to narrow down four to five different works, take notes, snap a photo and journal.  Then, they spend a full hour with one piece, which forces their attention in one direction.  With constant distraction and consumer overload, writing forces you to produce something from yourself.  You can get at ekphrastic poetry from two angles – either read into the moment of the painting, which provides narrative or a character you see in painting, or take something from the painting and let it project into your own life and become a more lyrical expression.  Some poems are almost all image-driven, while some are story poems.  Either type of poem drives you back to the art and makes you want to see the art and compare the experience of the poem to the experience of the piece.

This partnership gives a sense of relevancy and authority to a field – creative writing – that sometimes feels too abstract.  Creative writing exists way off the beaten path and this assignment gives a kind of legitimacy to a culture that creative writing is not only hoping to sustain but helping to thrive and flourish into the 21st century.

How do you combine poetry and art in your assignments?

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Help Wanted: Looking for a Few Good Interns

With all the amazing experiences you can have at the DMA, what could be better than learning about our work firsthand? Each September, DMA staff welcome a new class of McDermott Interns through the McDermott Internship Program. And thanks to the generous support of the Eugene McDermott Education Fund, we are even able to provide our fabulous interns with a stipend.

Although I may be a bit biased (I was a McDermott Intern last year), McDermott Interns truly are a vital part of the DMA. We couldn’t survive without them! Throughout their short nine-month stint at the Museum, they contribute to various projects, from exhibitions to tours to programming and beyond. We even make sure our interns get to experience other arts organizations around the Metroplex. It’s a smorgasbord of museum opportunities!

Two of the lucky interns from this year’s class are our very own Hannah and Jessica, who have blogged about some of there experiences with you here. I asked them a couple questions to get their perspective on being a McDermott Intern:

What has been your favorite part of the McDermott Internship so far?

Hannah: Definitely teaching. I love going into classrooms and interacting with the students; their energy, enthusiasm and curiosity is contagious. They are constantly reminding me why I am so passionate about art and teaching. I also really enjoy going to docent training lectures and discussions, because it gives me the opportunity to keep learning.

Hannah (center right) with local teachers during the Art and Fashion Teacher Workshop.

Jessica: My favorite part of being a McDermott Intern is being able to work with some of the friendliest and most dedicated people I have ever met. I have also really enjoyed learning about the DMA’s collection and fantastic exhibitions, and then passing on that exciting knowledge when giving tours.  It is so rewarding to know that you made someone’s trip to the Museum memorable!

In your opinion, what is one reason why someone should apply to be a McDermott Intern?

Hannah: One thing that is really unique about being a McDermott intern is that you get the chance to work really closely with one department, while also getting opportunities to collaborate and interact with the entire staff of the Museum. With guidance and support, you have many responsibilities within the department you are working for, and your days are filled with diverse tasks, activities and programs. No two days are the same!

Jessica: One word: EXPERIENCE! The staff at the DMA will ensure that you are given every opportunity to learn about the inner workings of so many different departments within the Museum. The DMA really values McDermott Interns as professional coworkers, not just as extra help. It is that kind of attitude that really makes being a McDermott Intern a wonderfully fulfilling experience.

If you or someone you know is interested in exploring a museum career, check out our Museum Internships page, which includes more information and a link to the 2012-2013 McDermott Internship application form. We look forward to your submissions!

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

Community Connection: STEAM, not STEM

Meet Nicholas Okafor, a high school senior with big ideas about the future of education and organizer of the upcoming STEAM Through Education Festival at Townview Magnet Center.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a senior at TAG Townview. I like TAG because it is more liberal in comparison to other magnet schools. TAG shows you different careers and exposes you to different subjects, as opposed to having a concentration or focused view on your education. You gain a broader sense of careers to choose from.

Nicholas Okafor

How did you get involved in organizing this festival?
It started last year, when I was a junior. I applied to the Bezos Scholars Program @ The Aspen Institute. The Scholars Program funds a trip for twelve juniors nationwide, with accompanying educators, to the Aspen Ideas Festival. I heard a speaker from the Rhode Island School of Design speak about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics), and how he saw it as the future of education. The Scholars Program encourages the students to come back and hold Local Ideas Festivals about a topic they feel needs to be addressed in their community.

What do you hope to achieve with the festival? What can participants expect?
I hope to broaden the minds of my community. What I’ve seen is a constant push toward STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), with the arts being ignored. What I want to do is show my community that you shouldn’t focus on one or the other, but instead incorporate both into STEAM. So many times in history these ideas have blended together: the Renaissance is a perfect example of that.

For this festival, we want to break any previous misconceptions that art and STEM cannot be mixed. We want to show how art can be implemented through science for students, parents, and educators. There will be a short presentation at the beginning, followed by a keynote speaker. The senior class is sponsoring a donation lunch, then participants will go into breakout sessions for students, parents, and educators. The student session is geared at breaking misconceptions and opening their eyes to STEAM careers. The educator session is geared at teachers working together to show how they can implement art in their curriculum. The parent session shows why STEAM is important for the child, as well as STEAM activities their child may be able to participate in.

Do you do anything creative?
Since I started high school, I’ve been very active in theater, and I’m currently President of the International Thespian Society. My two passions are theater and physics. Even with that, I can see STEAM there; not only are there physical aspects of theater such as lighting and stage, but there is the theatricality of physics and how you can take a simple motion and turn it into a very complex, inside-out problem.

Nicholas and friends from TAG Townview's fall 2011 production Reduced Shakespeare

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I’m still trying to figure that out. At the moment, I’m focused on college. I’ve been accepted to Texas A&M and MIT, and I’m waiting for a few others to respond. I definitely want to study Engineering for my Bachelor’s degree, and hopefully double major in something like Design, which could help me explore engineering further. Just the other day in Psychology, I learned about functional fixedness, when we no longer see objects for what they are. For example, we see a coffee can, but we can also see that it can be so many different things. Studying Design with Engineering could have the same impact on me.

One concept stressed in the Aspen Ideas Festival is the path of the social entrepreneur.  A social entrepreneur finds a problem in the community or on a global level and tries to address it. By combining Engineering and Design, I can help address problems. Hopefully, I’ll be helping people in ten years, whether in my town or across the globe.

The STEAM Through Education Festival takes place February 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Townview Magnet Center, 1201 E. 8th Street, Dallas, 75203.  For more information or to register, please visit the festival web site or contact Nicholas at nrokafor@yahoo.com.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Late Night Diva-Off

Last Friday, the Museum packed in a very full house for the Late Night celebration of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. The night’s special event, Divas of Gaultier Costume Contest, was kicked off with a fabulous Madonna tribute performance by Chris America, who got the festive audience singing and dancing. The competition featured eleven Madonna contestants and twenty Lady Gagas who put together creative and outrageous Diva ensembles. But they weren’t the only ones! Many of the visitors also took the opportunity to wear fashion from the wilder side of their wardrobe. After each contestant modeled his or her outfit, the finalists were revealed. The victors included Lady Gaga holding a teacup, as well  as a real-life mother-daughter pair stylishly dressed as Madonna and her daughter Lourdes. To wrap up the event, Chris America reappeared to award the grand prize of a hundred dollar gift certificate for the Museum store and a Jean Paul Gaultier catalogue to the winner, Lady Gaga. With her slow and deliberate strut, and edgy animalistic poses, this fierce contestant truly embodied Lady Gaga herself.

Photos from this fun and fashion-filled Friday are below, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

If you were to dress up for a Diva contest, who would you want to be and what would you wear? Please share your response in the comments below.

Hannah Burney
McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

DMA Dinner Guests

As educators in the museum, we get the wonderful opportunity to spend lots of time with the collection. So much so that the art works begin to feel like family. And just like in every family, there are plenty of characters. From the silly to the serious, emotional to adventurous, happy to sad, all the subjects in our collection have a lot of personality. With Thanksgiving coming up, I began to wonder what it would be like to have all of these quirky individuals come together for a Thanksgiving feast. Naturally, there were some I would be more excited about having in my home than others; after all, there’s a black sheep in every family.

So I decided to ask the other authors who in our collection they would invite to Thanksgiving dinner?

Here were their responses:

Sarah Coffey:

I would welcome the Banquete chair with pandas to my Thanksgiving dinner. I imagine this lovely lady to be so warm, playful, and inviting, that she’d be sure to get along with everyone. Also, if we ran out of seats at the table, I just know she would offer up herself.

Banquete chair with pandas, Fernando Campana and Humberto Campana, 2006, stuffed animals on steel base, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2009.9

Melissa Nelson:

I would invite the Indonesian couple from the video installation The World Won’t Listen by Phil Collins.  Not only do they sing one of my favorite songs by The SmithsThere is a Light That Never Goes Out – but they also seem like they would be really cool people.  I like their style, and I love the way they sing this somewhat dark love song as a duet.

The world won't listen, Phil Collins, 2005, synchronized three-channel color video projection with sound, Dallas Museum of Art, Gayle and Paul Stoffel Fund for Contemporary Art and gift of Marguerite Steed Hoffman, 2008.12.2.A-M

Amy Copeland:

I’d invite Still Life with Landscape for dinner, and Yinka Shonibare’s Un Ballo in Maschera for dramatic entertainment.

I think that I would invite Shiva Nataraja because he would be the best at passing around my favorite Thanksgiving dishes with all those arms!

Shiva Nataraja, 11th century, bronze, Chola dynasty, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor in honor of David T. Owsley, with additional funding from The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 2000.377

I don’t know who I would invite to Thanksgiving dinner, but I can tell you who I wouldn’t invite: the Xipe Impersonator.  He wears the flayed skin of a sacrificial victim until it rots off, and I wouldn’t want his stench overpowering the yummy smells of turkey and pumpkin pie!

Xipe impersonator, Aztec culture, Late Postclassic period c. A.D. 1350-1521, volcanic stone, shell, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the McDermott Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, 1973.65

Loryn Leonard:

I would invite That Gentleman in Andrew Wyeth’s painting.  That Gentleman reminds me of my grandfather: someone who was oftentimes quiet, but when compelled to speak, his words were profound. I can imagine the interesting stories he would tell about his life, and maybe even past Thanksgivings. It would be an honor to share stories and a Thanksgiving feast with That Gentleman, for that is what Thanksgiving is all about, sharing.

That Gentleman, Andrew Wyeth, 1960, tempera on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1962.27

Nicole Stutzman:

I would enjoy having the presence of Tlaloc at my Thanksgiving table for several reasons.  First, he’s really old and he’s a god. That’s pretty cool.  He’s “been around the bush” as they say and I suspect he may have some harrowing and interesting stories to share about his impact on the weather and agriculture.  Because of this, I imagine him to be someone who really knows and understands thankfulness.  Second, I would just love to look at him with that crown, the nose decoration, and those serpents in his ears.  And technically, he has no body.  Would he just hover at the table?  Third, I have no doubt that he would bring some delicious maize dish to share.  Corn pudding perhaps, or corn bread.  Mmmm…

Head of the rain god Tlaloc, North America, Mexico, Teotitlan del Camino, A.D. 1300-1500, ceramic, tufa, stucco, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus in memory of Mary Freiberg, 1967.5

Hannah Burney:

As for me, I would invite The Reveler. As the life of the party, this goofy fun-loving party animal would keep all of my guests dancing, laughing, and having a good time.

The Reveler (Le Festoyeur), Jean Dubuffet, 1964, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark, 1966.14

 Who would you invite?

Wishing you a yummy Thanksgiving!

McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Friday Photos: Teens Only!

Coming soon to the Dallas Museum of Art…URBAN ARMOR: Building Identity through Art-Making, an exclusive program specially designed for teens.

Ceremonial Mask, A.D. 900-1100, South America: Peru, Sican Culture, Gold, copper, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

MEET.  RELATE.  INVESTIGATE.
Look at hidden gems in the Museum’s collection.  Then, get your creativity on with unique projects using advanced techniques from movie making to screen printing your own T-Shirts and posters inspired by the Museum’s collection.  All experience levels are encouraged and welcome.  URBAN ARMOR programs will start in June and run through August, every Thursday from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.  For more information, call 214-922-1822.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships


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